, Volume 17, Issue 9, pp 2115-2137
Date: 30 Oct 2007

Testate amoebae analysis in ecological and paleoecological studies of wetlands: past, present and future

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Abstract

Testate amoebae are an abundant and diverse polyphyletic group of shelled protozoa living in aquatic to moist habitats ranging from estuaries to lakes, rivers, wetlands, soils, litter, and moss habitats. Owing to the preservation of shells in sediments, testate amoebae are useful proxy indicators complementary to long-established indicators such as pollen and spores or macrofossils. Their primary use to date has been for inferring past moisture conditions and climate in ombrotrophic peatlands and, to a lesser extent, to infer pH in peatlands and the trophic or nutrient status of lakes. Recent research on these organisms suggests other possible uses in paleoecology and ecology such as sea-level reconstruction in estuarine environments, as indicators of soil or air pollution, and monitoring recovery of peatland. We review the past and present use of testate amoebae, the challenges in current research, and provide some ideas on future research directions.